This feature about the Emery
family of Rooksbridge is centred mainly around the story of the descendants of George and Hannah
Emery who came to Rooksbridge at around the time they married in 1872.
summarised from material kindly
loaned by Margery Fear of WSM who is a grand-daughter of George and Hannah Emery
and daughter of Alice Emery who kept this material, which gave us the
opportunity to share it).
|George and Hannah Emery.
With two of their offspring.
George was recorded as a farm servant and his wife
caretaker of 'The Chapel of the Good Shepherd' in
Clare Street. (Gills Lane) Rooksbridge.
They would go on to raise 15 children while living in
the tiny 'Mission House' cottage next to the Chapel.
Some of the descendants of
George and Hannah would become important and influential members of our
community over the following 100 years or so....
ancestors of George and Hannah Emery
Ancestors of the Emery's can be traced back to John d'Amory
or Amory of
Bishops Nympton near South Molton in Devon in 1545, and were well
established land owners during the reigns of
Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
At that time they must have been a high ranking family, as there is a reference
to Arms being bestowed upon the family in the Elizabethan era: Arms confirmed
1564; Visitation by William Hervy, Clarencieux, King of Arms. Viz; Barry Nebule,
Six Argent and Gules overall. --(If
someone could interpret this and give me some idea of what it meant or what the
Arms looked like, I would like to follow it up. :John R.)--
By the 18th century the family fortunes appear to have declined. The
senior descendants of the Amorys-- by now mostly recorded as Emery-- had moved from
the North Devon family home at Bishops Nympton and were now living in the
Bicknoller and Stogumber areas of Somerset.
Some of the Emery descendants would later settle in the Wedmore area. From
where George's Great-grandfather would eventually come to East Brent to marry
his wife Celia.
The Emery family were from farming stock and although fairly poor after the
Agricultural downturn of the early and mid 1800's. By the late 1880's and early 1900's
some of them had become very enterprising.
local connection we have, is when John Emery of Blackford married Celia Ham of
East Brent in 1787.
We have very basic records of his son James. We know he died aged 28 and was
buried at Wedmore when his son Charles was 9 years old. There is no record of
his wife or a marriage. However it seems that either he and/or Charles mother
were at Othery Som. when Charles was born.
Charles Emery married Caroline Walker b: Puriton Som. the daughter of carpenter,
Thomas Walker then living in East Brent.
Charles and Caroline had four children: Elizabeth 1845. Mary 1846. George Alfred
1848 and William 1851.
By this time the Emery family appear to be well established in East Brent
East Brent, George Alfred Emery aged 24, married Hannah Durston aged 16
daughter of Charles and Susan Durston of Badgworth Som. at Emmanuel church Weston super
mare. 23/9/1872. The 16 yr old Hannah would have been heavily pregnant at the
time of the wedding. Victorian moral codes at the time might have been the
reason they did not marry in their local church at East Brent?
up home in Rooksbridge where Annie Amelia the first of their 15 children
was born on 30/10/1872.
(The 1881 Census records George and Hannah and five children living somewhere in Factory
lane? (Mendip Rd)?
It must have been shortly after this that the family moved into the cottage
known as the 'Mission House' next to the Chapel in Clare Street (Gills Lane).
As can be seen from the brief biographies
of the Emery children below, the family members were widely known and had an
impact on our village.
||In this early 1900's photograph, It is believed that the lady seen
standing outside the 'Mission House' in Gills Lane Rooksbridge, is
Hannah and George brought up 15 children here while she also acted as caretaker of the
Chapel of the Good Shepherd next door.
local line of descent to George Alfred Emery.
Emery Blackford Som.
m:1787 Celia Ham (E Brent) Som
b:1802 Wedmore Som
b:1821 Othery Som
E Brent Caroline Walker (East Brent) Som
d:1884 E Brent
George Alfred Emery
George Alfred Emery
b:1848 S Brent
d:1919 E Brent Som
b:1856 (Weare) Som
d:1916 East Brent Som
descendants of George and Hannah Emery.
|Below are the 15
children of George and Hannah. (Some members of the family believe
there might be a 16th child who died at birth? There is one mention of a
Thomas born before Alice? but this cannot be confirmed).
Brief summaries of details of the
children and descendants of George and Hannah are shown below. Some we have
little knowledge of, while what is known of others gives quite an
interesting insight to life at the turn of the century. The lives of
William, Bessie, Edward and Charles etc. for instance, are such that I
have given separate pages to these individuals, which can be viewed by
clicking their names below.
b: 30 Oct 1872
m: 25 May 1901 to ? Hewison at Cardiff?
still living at home aged 23 and is later thought to have gone into service in
Cardiff S Wales?
b: 20 May 1874
? Ethel (?)
d: ? possibly in Africa.
It is not known how or when William died, although the family tried to find out what happened to
William, all contact ceased in 1920!
William went to Africa, where he employed teams of locals contracting to
Railroads in Rhodesia and the Cape Colonies etc. And there are letters from
him giving some idea into the hard work and risks involved in railroad
William married Ethel ? from Kent while home
from Africa. He later abandoned her and returned to Africa. (There are
some sad and poignant letters from Ethel pleading for him to get in
b: 10 Feb 1876
m: Joanna Charlotta Viser
d: April 1946
Frederick George Emery and
Rear l-r: Bessie, JohnJohn,
Frederick and Elsie.
Seated: Frederick Emery, Jesse, and Johanna.
|Joanna was a Boer lady
which Frederick no doubt met while serving in the Boer War. They
married in Johannesburg after the Boer war.
Joanna apparently had been used to having servants in Africa and
found the life of a farmers wife in England to be quite hard!
She had a bad start to married life here, where she was met with
much hostility from her mother-in-law Hannah, who called her the
enemy and told her she was not welcome here!
She went back to South Africa
to have her first baby Bessie in the care of her mother.
Returning to England with great determination to be a good
citizen, she proceeded to have another daughter Elsie and then
two sons JohnJohn and Frederick without any family help.
They moved from their cottage opposite the Village Hall at
Biddisham to Slade Lane. Tarnock, where Edward Jesse was born
nine years after Frederick.
Johanna went on to become a popular figure in the area, where
she delivered most of the babies in the surrounding villages and
prepared the dead for their funerals.
After his return from service in Africa after the Boer war, Frederick and his
brother Charles set up a dairy business at Manor Farm Tarnock. They gave
up the dairy when Charles became manager and director of CVD Cheddar
Valley Dairy Co. in Factory Lane. Fredrick went back to work full time at
his Slade Lane farm at Tarnock.
It is thought that this is
a photo of Jesse and his adopted brother Donald born 1924?
married Jack Dyer at Mark in 1934 and they had two sons. The
oldest of which received an MBE from the queen for services to
the Army and Rugby.
Elsie married Arthur Tincknell and ha one son John. After
a divorce she married Walter Grimstead.
JohnJohn worked for some years for the Cheddar Valley
He married May Ward from Bristol. They had two children:
Johnjohn and Heather.
Frederick married Iris Smith and they had four daughters
and lived in Easter Compton.
Jesse married his Belgian wife Salange who he met while serving
in WW2. They had 3 daughters.
Jesse became a farmer at Haven Farm. Tarnock
indebted to Heather Redman, granddaughter of Frederick Emery,
for these notes and images of her family.
b:18 Jan 1878
Bessie at the age of thirteen was working as a servant to Archdeacon
George Anthony Dennison at East Brent
would die at the young age of 17 possibly of TB.
Young Bessie left a legacy of poignant poems about her thoughts
and family life in an old exercise book.
b: 8 Feb 1880
m: 28 Oct 1908 Florence Mabel Harvey at Peshawar India.
d: 17 Sept 1916. POW Baghdad.
was to follow a military career and served with Dorset regiment
at Poona in India and later During WW1 with the Indian
Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia. He was captured and died as
a POW and is buried in the Baghdad War Cemetery in Iraq.
His name is inscribed on the War Memorial at East Brent and also
on the memorial plaque at the old
Baptist Chapel in Rooksbridge.
Florence had three children. Teddy, Sylvia and Vera and were
living in India at the time of Edwards death.
They are then thought to have returned to England.
Teddy Jnr was killed in
action during WW2.
letters to his family in Rooksbridge
Read the letters
b: 16 Dec 1881
m: ? Fanny Woodward of Bristol.
||Charles and his
older brother Fred began a dairy business at Manor Farm Tarnock
in the early 1900's. Later Charles would become manager and then
a director of the Cheddar Valley Dairy in Factory Lane. A large
employer of local people for many years.
Charles was regarded as an expert cheese maker and pig breeder.
He was also a prominent Freemason.
I hope to enlarge
on the story of Charlie and the CVD soon
||Charles and Fanny Had
three children. David, Alberta and Christopher.
note: Charles brother
Bill in one of his letters home, mentions 'Charlies bereavement of the
Was there another daughter?
(seated on floor at front)
became manager of the Cheddar Valley Dairy. until it was sold to
Horlicks Ltd in the late 50's. He married Sybil and they had two children Rex and Norma.
Alberta (Berta) had a daughter who was given up for adoption.
Chris became a refrigeration
engineer and agent.
He married Peggy and they had a son and daughter, Peter and Carol.
b: 4 Jan 1884
m: 8 Nov 1909. (Anne Wildgoose b:1890 Buxton Derbyshire d: 1953).
d12 Dec 1931
Roland became a cheese maker under
his older brother Charles.
He moved to Buxton to manage a dairy there and later to manage a dairy
at Ripon in Yorkshire. Anne developed asthma after double pneumonia and
they were advised to move south for her health sake. The lived for a
very short while in S Wales before moving back to Somerset and finally
settling in West Pennard to manage Pouparts Dairy. Where, according to
his wife Annie "He very nearly worked himself to death"
producing cheese during WW1. When the dairy was sold to Express Dairies,
Roland started dairy farming at 'Mulberry Farm' Where he died of kidney
failure in 1931 aged 47.
After Roland died Annie sold up the farm and opened a small general
store in the village. Roland's brother Charles kept in touch with the
family and gave Annie some introductions to
wholesalers etc. and she was able to provide an income for the family.
There is a story that, after Charlie's son David became manager of CVD,
he visited Annie and told her that because of rationalising the business
at CVD, he could no longer supply her with butter and cheese at the privileged
rates that his father always had. Coming from outspoken northern stock.
Annie told him what to do with his butter and cheese!
It is believed this photo is of
Roland Jnr. and Maurice.
|Roland and Annie had
five children. Edith 1910, Roland Jnr. 1912, Maurice 1914, Dennis 1925,
and Violet 1928.
Most of the children had a talent
for music, and were choristers at the local church and played piano or
For more about Annie Wildgoose.
Check out the Wildgoose family Website.
Edith became a primary school and
music teacher. She was organist at West Pennard church.
Roland trained as a carpenter.
Maurice was a pharmacist.
Dennis trained as a jeweller and watchmaker before serving in the RAF
from 1943. After several years in the RAF, he was active in local
government and became a JP. He emigrated to Australia in 1967.
Sylvia looked after her semi-invalid mother until she died. She then ran
the family business for some years.
These notes of
Roland and Anne Emery and their descendants, are taken from research
carried out by Dennis Emery
b: 27 Nov 1885
Not much is
known about Maggie except that by the age of 10 years old, she was
living with an uncle and aunt in Weston super mare.
It seems the family did not want to say much about her, for some reason?
b: 26 Jun 1888
m: ? Archie Edgar Wilkins (Cardiff) b: 1888 d: 1928 aged
d: after 1950?
married Archie Wilkins in Cardiff.
some faded family photo's, it appears that Edith enjoyed her
tennis. And Archie is seen in military uniform. Possibly during
They had a son. Norman and a grandson Peter.
in Cardiff after Archie died. From photo's
that appear to have been taken in the 50's or 60's it seems that
Edith spent a lot of time visiting and being with her younger
sister Alice in Brent Knoll.
b: 11 Oct 1890
m: ? Nancy ?
There is very
little information about Alfred apart that he and his wife Nancy kept
various pubs in Wiltshire?
There is a possibility
that there was a daughter Jessie?
b: 11 Jun
m: ? Beatrice ? d: 1943. (George later remarried
Florence. m:? ).
Beatrice was disabled but they had a wonderful relationship.
They lived in 'Mudgley Wall House' in Mudgley Lane Rooksbridge.
Beatrice died George remarried . His second wife Florence? is seen here on the
left, with Georges sister Alice Emery.
George worked with and for
his brother Charles at CVD.
Here he is seen in the
1930's with his dog and milk lorry, which was probably then, the 'Pride of the
was a son.. 'Young George' who it is believed
he and Beatrice adopted? Georgie married Dorcas Cross of E. Brent and they were for
some time during the 1950's and 60's landlord of the Wellington Inn at
Dorcas had a son Stephen.
b: 11 Jan 1895
d: May 1897
sadly died at only 16 months old. (Written shortly before she
herself died, one of Bessie's poems tells of the sadness the family
John (Jack) Emery
b: 4 Dec 1896
d: 30 Jan 1951
the Labour Certificate issued to all school leavers after the age of 13
to allow them to work. Jack left East Brent school in 1909 just before
his 14th birthday with a full attendance record.
He appears to have been employed by his older brother Charlie at the
However, in 1920 at the age of 24 Jack was committed to Tone Vale Mental
Hospital. And despite later attempts by his sister and family to
get him released, he remained there for 30 years until he died of
Pneumonia in 1951aged 55. From the Hospital report it seems he was found
dead on the morning of 30 Jan 1951.
The reason for Jacks long commitment is not known. But from his letters
home to his family, he appears to be quite lucid with a reasonable
Alice Mary Emery
b: 26 Sept 1899
m: 24 July 1924 Percy James Hatcher. b: 1898
d: 5 April 1968
||Alice was the
second youngest of the family and throughout her life, was one
of those modest people who would quietly look after her family
and friends without fuss. For instance she tried many times over
the years to no avail, to get her older brother Jack released
from Tone Vale Mental hospital! She also tried to discover how
and when her brother Bill died in Africa. And she appears to have been on
hand when her parents were ill etc.
It is thanks to Alice, that she kept much of the family's
documents, photo's etc. which have passed down to her daughter
Margery and which now allow us to share some of the Emery family
Alice along and her
husband Percy Hatcher, were keen ballroom dancers, they were
active in many local community events in Brent Knoll and the
surrounding area. they and also served on the
committee of the local British Legion.
husband Percy Hatcher had served in WWI. Percy was a local butcher and
was later employed until he retired, by his brother-in-law Charlie Emery
at Cheddar Valley Dairy in Rooksbridge.
They had three
children. Brian, Sylvia and Margery.
Brian (known as Jim) married a Canadian girl Margaret and joined the Canadian Air
Force. They had two children: a son Brent and a daughter Colleen.
Hubert Mellish and they had three daughters. Julie, Trudie and Kirstie.
married Ivor Fear and they had two children, Martyn and Lynda. They
Gladys Elizabeth Emery.
b: 24 Apr 1904
m: 18 Apr 1928 Bert Barnstable of the Post Office Brent Knoll.
Gladys and Bert Barnstable with best man, Gladys'
brother Charles and his daughter Roberta.
the youngest of the Emery siblings was born when Hannah was 48
had a daughter Elizabeth Hannah
Gladys and Bert divorced when daughter Elizabeth was about 4-5
Elizabeth married Geoffrey
'Liz and Jeff' moved to Rhodesia and then on to Australia, where
they now live with their 4 children.
photographs Gladys appears to have been quite a sophisticated
Gladys seen here on the right with a friend
wearing the latest 1920's styles.
Gladys the Showgirl?